Ricoh Woodbine Mile Notes for Monday, September 11, 2017
​EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 1 RICOH WOODBINE MILE (11) 
Horse/Owner/Trainer
Arod (IRE) / Qatar Racing Limited / David Simcock
Conquest Panthera / Gary Barber / Mark Casse 
Deauville (IRE) / Mrs. Fitri Hay, Mrs. John Magnier, Mr. Michael Tabor and Mr. Derrick Smith / Aidan O’Brien
Dragon Bay / Brent McLellan, Russell McLellan and Stuart C. Simon / Stuart Simon
Dutch Connection (GB) / Godolphin / Charlie Hills
Glenville Gardens / Janice Attard / Sid Attard
Lancaster Bomber / Mr. Michael B. Tabor, Mr. Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier / Aidan O'Brien
Long on Value / Wachtel Stable, Kerr, George J. and Barber, Gary / William I. Mott
Mondialiste / Geoff and Sandra Turnbull / David O'Meara
Tower of Texas / Thomas F. Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth / Roger Attfield
World Approval / Live Oak Plantation / Mark Casse

DRAGON BAY LOOKING TO STRIKE IN RICOH WOODBINE MILE

Dragon Bay has played the role of dragon slayer on two occasions this year to score graded stakes upsets for trainer/co-owner Stuart Simon and he will be looking to reprise that role in this year’s star-studded edition of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday.

The son of Parading and Cologne sold for just $6,000 as a yearling at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Sale, but caught Simon’s eye in his first career start in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine.

“He just showed a lot of promise,” said Simon, who struck a deal with Cary Brooks to purchase Dragon Bay privately with longtime partners Brent and Russell McLellan. “He ran third in a stakes race his first start of his life on the grass and just looked like a good physical specimen and showed talent.”

Dragon Bay’s early display of talent has escalated into a five wins and almost $450,000 in earnings, but his success on the track has not come without some challenges.

“He’s had his challenges because we had to sort out different equipment issues,” said Simon. “He’s always had lots of talent, but had equipment issues because he had a habit of wanting to run greenly. But he’s matured nicely and got over that so he’s been good now.”

This year, Dragon Bay has earned a pair of Grade 2 stakes wins at Woodbine while defeating the odds-on favourites. He pulled off an 18-1 upset over two-time Sovereign Award Champion Older Horse Are You Kidding Me in the 1-1/16 mile Eclipse Stakes on May 20 and upended Grade 1 runner Can'thelpbelieving in the 1-1/4 mile Nijinsky on the turf at the end of July. 

Last time out in the Sky Classic (Gr. 2) on August 20, he finished fourth, giving way in the 1-3/8 mile turf test after being involved in a pace battle.

“He’s doing really well, he breezed well on Friday and he’s really healthy and ready to go,” said Simon after the chestnut gelding worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 over the all-weather track.

Gary Boulanger is expected to ride Dragon Bay in the Woodbine Mile for their fifth straight pairing.

Dragon Bay will be Simon’s first Woodbine Mile starter. Over the past 20 editions, five trainers have won their first starts in the turf classic: David O’Meara (Mondialiste, 2015), Chuck Lo Presti (Turallure, 2011), Sid Attard (Numerous Times, 2001), Neil Drysdale (Labeeb, 1998) and Bill Mott (Geri, 1997).

GOLDEN ORB SET FOR NATALMA

While trainer Christophe Clement will not be shipping Disco Partner north for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, he will be represented in Sunday’s Grade 1 'Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re' In Natalma Stakes by the talented Golden Orb.

The chestnut daughter of Orb-Day of Victory is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Finley’sluckycharm and ran to her impressive breeding with a rallying ½-length score in a 1 1/16-mile maiden allowance tilt over the Saratoga turf on Aug. 6.

“She’s a fine filly and has trained well. She won impressively first time in Saratoga,” agreed Clement. “She came back from that race and I thought she needed a little bit of time. I like the spacing between the maiden win and the Natalma.”

Golden Orb breezed twice on the Saratoga turf training track in August covering four furlongs in :51 flat on Aug. 21 and in :50.67 on Aug. 28.  She has since worked twice on the dirt training track including a three furlong effort in :38.22 this morning.

It would appear Golden Orb is in fine fettle for Sunday’s one-turn mile for juvenile fillies over Woodbine’s world-famous E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

“Her last two works have been nice on the turf and I think she’s better on firmer than softer turf,” noted Clement.

EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 1 NORTHERN DANCER (6)
Horse / Owner / Trainer
Camp Creek / Hillsbrook Farms / Kevin Attard
Hawkbill / Godolphin / Charles Appleby
Johnny Bear / Colebrook Farms and Bear Stables, Ltd. / Ashlee Brnjas
Messi / Gestut Brummerhof / Graham Motion
Noble Thought / Pin Oak Stable / Malcolm Pierce
Seeking Albert / Robert Marzilli / Mike DePaulo

EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 2 CANADIAN (9)
Horse / Owner / Trainer
Dacita / Sheep Pond Partners, LLC and Bradley Thoroughbreds / Chad Brown
Elysea's World / Sheep Pond Partners, LLC and All Pro Racing LLC / Chad Brown
Evidently / Roy S. Lerman / Roy S. Lerman
Grizzel / Merriebelle Stable LLC and Mrs. Anna Doyle / Mike Doyle
Involuntary / Stronach Stables / Josie Carroll
Moonlight Sky / Triton Stable / Roger Attfield
Rainha Da Bateria / Lael Stables / Chad Brown
Southern Gem / Stronach Stables / Sid Attard
Starship Jubilee / Soli Mehta and Partner / Kevin Attard

EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 1 NATALMA, BREEDERS' CUP WIN & YOU'RE IN (7)
Horse / Owner / Trainer
Capla Temptress / Team Valor International / Marco Botti
Delamar / Robert S. Evans / Roger Attfield
Golden Orb / Speedway Stable LLC / Christophe Clement
March X Press / Golconda Stables / Todd Pletcher
Mo Big Cat / Gary Barber / Mark Casse
Sly Beauty / Debby M. Oxley / Mark Casse
Wonder Gadot / Gary Barber / Mark Casse

EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 2 SUMMER, BREEDERS' CUP WIN & YOU'RE IN (8)
Horse / Owner / Trainer
Admiralty Pier / Hoolie Racing Stable, LLC and Bruce Lunsford / Barbara Minshall
Burnside / Carolyn Wilson / Larry Rivelli
Count Alexander / Holly and David Wilson / Mary Lightner
Differential / K. Wentzien and Gabe Grossberg / Mark Casse
El Dulce / Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners / Todd Pletcher
Empirically / Roy S. Lerman / Roy S. Lerman
Hemp Hemp Hurray / Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey / Wesley Ward
Lookin To Strike / Gary Barber / Mark Casse